I wonder what my life will mean to you. I wonder if your eyes will ever see the survivor behind mine. I wonder if you’ll ask questions and if you do if I’ll answer them correctly and with unfiltered honesty. I wonder if some filtering is acceptable. I wonder what your laugh will sound like and if you’ll ask about my tattoos and the scars that lie beneath them. I wonder if I’ll be someone to you more than just your mom. I wonder if my story will change you. I already know your story has changed me.
I know few things but that which I know, I know well. I earned the right to claim my ascending climb to light in my darkness. I earned these lessons in a way I hope and pray you never need to experience to understand. When that stick screamed two red lines I froze. I worried about everything, mostly I worried I wouldn’t have that magical bond- that you’d be put in my arms and I’d stare into blank eyes with an empty heart. I worried because love and vulnerability no longer come easily to me. They’ve been beaten, torn, twisted, misconstrued and used as venom in the life I left behind. I didn’t know what healthy love was. I didn’t know unconditional, I knew only tough love from the family I was burning to the ground- and tainted, twisted, bribed love from those who claimed it was something it would never be. Love was a four letter word that managed to manipulate a great deal of the last decade of my life. A four letter word that I felt so fully, and so strongly as a kid- that I trusted it blindly and completely. So when my decent began, and the darkness trampled in I held on so tightly to the word itself that the actual feeling, the meaning, the strength of such a word became arsenal and I followed it like a moth to a flame, believing cracking promises and grasping at anyone or anything that made me feel worthy. Worthy of twisted love in the darkness is something I hand to god I will never let you feel. Lies of abusers promising their solo understanding of who I was as a person. That no one would love me like they did, that I was unloveable to everyone but these select few who held ice to the lips they had split, or sat in Emergency rooms assuring my story was matching to whatever made it my fault, holding bloody t-shirts to my forehead, split open, blood so thick even my eyes swelled shut. This is the kind of love I had convinced myself I deserved, these were the men that “loved” me, and they were going to save me, cause saving myself would never be an option. Until one day…. one amazing day, it was the only option I had.
Then, I met you little one. 3 plus years later, when the dust had settled and my battle torn family had almost mended back into a different but unexpected unit- even stronger than we’d began and painfully buried and mourned years ago. You, little girl, are a miracle in ways I hope one day you can understand but never have to hit bottom to truly appreciate. My goals for you are simple. The moment I saw your face, everything was re-wired. I no longer selfishly thought how things would effect me, I thought only about how beautiful a life you are destined to have and how, although I know I’ll mess up, probably often, I’ll never let you near the path I insisted on walking- a road less traveled to somehow find a self I’d lost years before.
All the wondering, in moments veered from fear of my lack of connection and altered views on love to complete and fundamentally honest happiness. Not the kind of happiness a puppy brings at Christmas or a thick enveloped from the college you’ve been killing your self to get into arrives but a true, untainted, unshaken, unexpected pure love. I knew in that moment you were my miracle. Having had and given up a child to addiction many years back I realized there was no comparison when one tries to quantify love. My love for him is not lesser in meaning or value but the emotional ability to truly connect to a child I knew I’d never be able to care for is not comparable to the birth of a child I was ready for. My heart wasn’t strung behind metal bars waiting for the inevitable to arrive at my door. Instead my heart felt full. So full i was unsure of how to let it out. I couldn’t hold you right away, I couldn’t see you, you were taken so quickly and my heart literally felt inflated behind a rib cage beating away as the pushed and pulled to sew me back up. I got one glimpse. One. That moment did more for me than I’ll ever begin to correctly define. I learned I wasn’t as broken as I worried I’d always be. I was able to feel, truly feel bliss without guilt or fear. Which as a recovering addict is harder than you think. I realized the other shoe not only wasn’t going to drop, it had left that infinite ceiling above my head years ago and I could finally accept that. Holding my hand and never losing my eye sight was your father- another love I’d challenged and challenged until I learned on my own that I truly did deserve. These may seem like obvious observations for a woman in her 30s but keep in mind i spent a decade convinced death was truly my only way out of the brokenness that overcame me. A hollow shell I desperately dug in the sand trying to fill with anything but what I truly needed. Drugs, men, violence, abuse, jail….. nothing filled the expressionless void I had become. Until one day it changed.
I’ll come back to those stories little one, right now what’s important isn’t how or what saved my life- but that I stand proud that today I get things like a relationship with a mom who I had hurt so badly- we went almost 6 years with no contact. We mourned each other as one would in death and that was the only way we could save ourselves from the horrible pain my existence presented in what was once an unbreakable relationship. I lost everything time after time after time, homeless sleeping under buildings, living out of cars- but nothing, nothing like the loss of my mom ripped my heart the way it did. I pined for it in a world of self pity I was too selfish to see. Never realizing she too had to bury and mourn her only child- the only difference was I could get high to temporarily forget it all. She had to do it sober. Once you find sobriety and truly switch sides of the addiction/addict relationship you see the pain and destruction that lurks among the ashes of the burned bridges piling up around you. My family suffered more than I could understand until I became sober with open eyes and a mended heart and witnessed on my own the absolute hell that is the cycle of addiction. I said so many goodbyes too soon I began to expect it- and that little one is never a place ones heart should get used too.
It’s 2 am and I just finished giving you your bottle. You look at me with those navy blue eyes and I’m beginning to see you see me, and I’ll leave that feeling with little description because until you hold a tiny human that you carried inside you for nine long months begin to recognize the world you saw fit to bring them into- words will only dull how full my heart feels. It’s inexplicable and I love that. As a woman who needs definitions and certainties, exact times and dates and organized planners with post it notes- you leave me with tiny moments of magic; and I’m more than ok leaving it at that.